Medal for founder of folk festival
The founder of Tenterden Folk Festival has been awarded in the New Year Honours list.
Alan Castle will receive the British Empire Medal for services to music and heritage and the 63-year-old said the news came as a bit of a shock.
Mr Castle, of Repton Manor Road, Ashford, said: “I was amazed when I found out. I don’t know how on earth it came about. It was a bit of a shock but a pleasant one.”
The retired accountant organised the first Tenterden Folk Day in 1993 as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the railway line coming to Ashford and Tenterden.
He persuaded Ashford Borough Council to give him a £250 grant and the event attracted 15 guests.
Twenty years on and the festival has grown into an annual weekend-long event, attracting local and international perform- ers, and Mr Castle continues to organise it.
He credits his love of music to his older brother Pete Castle, a professional folk musician who now lives in Derbyshire but is a regular performer at Tenterden Folk Festival.
The younger sibling admits to having “dabbled” with various instruments over the years, most recently the melodion, but claims he is not good enough at any of them to play in public.
He continued: “Music is a hobby and a passion of mine and it’s nice to mix with people I have so much in common with.”
Mr Castle is also a trustee of St Mary’s Arts Trust in Ashford and has been promoting musical events in the area since 1972.
He is a member of the RSPB and the National Trust and describes himself as an avid reader.
He intended to celebrate his BEM with a meal with friends.